However, Turkey retaliated by defending its decision to send a military vessel to accompany its civilian vessel – and said it reserved the right to defend itself. A Turkish Navy advisory said the ship Oruc Reis would operate in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean over the next fortnight.
Another opinion, known as Navtex, last month sparked a dispute that was only assuaged after German Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened, as Turkey agreed to suspend the operation.
Mr Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the region – accusing Greece of breaking its promises on the issue.
Greece set out its position in a strong government statement yesterday.
A spokesperson said: “Turkey’s new illegal Navtex for illegal investigations south of the island of Megisti on the Greek continental shelf, combined with the wide mobility of Turkish naval units that has been observed, constitutes news serious escalation and clearly exposes the role of Turkey in destabilizing and threatening peace.
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“On the contrary, Turkey shows in practice that statements referring to its alleged desire to engage in dialogue are just a pretext.
“Referring to the signing of the fully legal agreement between Greece and Egypt, Turkey abandoned the dialogue even before it was launched and resorted to the practices of past centuries, employing futile tactics in its efforts to create accomplished facts.
“Greece will not be subjected to blackmail. It will defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights.
“We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which undermine peace and security in the region. ”
A statement subsequently issued by the Turkish government said: “Our military presence in the region is not intended to increase tensions.
“It’s about resorting to self-defense if necessary.
“We will not authorize any military intervention against our civilian ship. “
NAVTEX, issued by the Turkish Navy’s Navigation Bureau, covered a maritime area south of Antalya in Turkey and west of Cyprus.
Mr Erdogan’s announcement comes after Egypt and Greece signed an agreement last week designating an exclusive economic zone between the two eastern Mediterranean countries.
Greek diplomats said the deal rescinded a similar deal reached last year between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya – but Erdogan insisted Turkey would maintain its deal with Libya “from decisively ”.
Turkey and Greece have a long history of eminence, with Turkey invading northern Cyprus in 1974, resulting in the expulsion of 200,000 Greek Cypriots from the region.
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)